Imagine you’re in the office, about to head to the water cooler, when you hear shouting. It’s not an argument; it’s a heated discussion about the company’s direction. In fact, nearly everyone in the office is engaged in some conversation about work.
This is what a strong culture looks like.
In weak culture companies, on the other hand, you’re more likely to find employees sitting at their desks silently. They’re working on their own projects with little interaction with others.
A strong culture is one where employees feel like they are part of something bigger. They are willing to fight for the company’s success. On the other hand, a weak company culture is one where employees feel like just another cog in the machine. They are more likely to go through the motions.
A strong culture in an organization gives employees a sense of purpose and direction. While weak company culture, instead, leads to a feeling of insecurity and confusion. Strong cultures are built on shared values and beliefs that guide employee behavior.
In contrast, in weak culture companies, there is often the result of a lack of clarity around what the company stands for. That leads to employees feeling like they are not part of something larger than themselves. It also promotes negative behaviors such as backstabbing and infighting.
What is a strong culture’s definition? Keep reading to find out.
A Unique Culture
Culture is like the DNA of an organization. The combination of values, traditions, beliefs and behaviors makes a company unique. A strong culture is what sets excellent organizations apart from the rest. However, not every organization can say they have the strong culture definition covered.
A strong culture in an organization is deeply embedded into how a business or organization does things. With a strong culture, employees and management understand what is required of them. They will try to act according to the core values.
In weak workplace culture, there is a greater need for procedures, policies and bureaucracy to get things done in the desired way. In other words, weak company culture can add substantially to organizational costs.
Building a Strong Culture
What is a strong culture? Or how about what is strong organizational culture?
A strong culture’s building blocks start with a happy, healthy, wealthy culture.
- Happy Culture: Gratitude is the key to happiness; when you regularly express gratitude sincerely, your employees feel appreciated. When your employees are able to express gratitude authentically, they will be happier. This newfound happiness will positively affect every interaction they have with people.
Expressing gratitude can also help us to realize what we have. Are your staff coming across as entitled? More often than not, when this happens, your employees are crying for help to notice their hard work. They want you to acknowledge the hard work that everyone does daily to keep your thriving business running smoothly.
Unhappy employees mean they are feeling underappreciated. Remedy this by ensuring that your staff understands how much you value them.
- Healthy Culture: A strong culture starts with the mental health of its employees. A mentally healthy workplace is one where team members:
- Have a good work/life balance.
- Feel supported by their company.
- Can openly discuss any issues they’re experiencing.
Make sure not to neglect your internal motivators– identity, purpose, and adventure. Many managers find antimotivators (fear, shame, and guilt) effective because they provide instant gratification. But compliance only leads to defiance, disengagement, lower productivity, and turnover.
While there are very legitimate times to employ antimotivators to hold people accountable, the key is to avoid weaponizing them to inflict pain.
- Wealthy Culture: A wealthy culture creates an air of abundance. Your team will be more likely to thrive when thinking abundantly. However, employees shift into survival mode when surrounded by penny pinchers and misers.
Your business needs internal motivators more than anything. Inspiring the right actions and behaviors will always be more effective for long term growth. Otherwise, employees just feel used, unimportant, and replaceable.
Strong vs. Weak Culture
There’s a bit to know when it comes to strong culture vs. weak culture. Strong vs. weak culture usually depends on a company’s success. A company that is doing well tends to have a strong culture. On the other hand, its culture is generally weak if it’s not doing so well.
Read on to learn the characteristics of a strong and weak culture and examples of each.
Characteristics of a Strong Culture
The benefits of a strong culture far outweigh the issues of a toxic culture. Here are a few characteristics of a happy, healthy, wealthy culture:
- Culture-reinforcing Tools: A strong culture has systems and processes that reinforce the desired values and behaviors. For example, a company might have an onboarding process that helps new employees understand and buy into the company culture.
- Emphasis on Achievement And Excellence: A strong culture emphasizes achievement and excellence.This might manifest itself in several ways, such as focusing on continuous improvement or emphasizing customer service.
- Intensely People-oriented: A strong culture is intensely people-oriented. That means that the company values its employees and works to create a positive work environment.
- Results-oriented: A strong culture is also results-oriented. This means that the company focuses on achieving its goals and objectives through displaying the most desirable actions and behaviors.
Characteristics of a Weak Culture
Weak corporate culture or a toxic work culture can have some adverse effects on a company. Characteristics of weak organizational culture include:
- Internal Political Environment: Weak organizational cultures are an internal political environment. It can lead to infighting and backstabbing, damaging morale and productivity.
- Narrow/Isolated Thinking: A weak culture can lead to narrow or isolated thinking. This can limit creativity and innovation and make it difficult for the company to adapt to change.
- Resistance to Change: A weak culture can lead to resistance to change. It can make it difficult for the company to adopt new technologies or processes.
- Unhealthy Promotion Practices: A weak culture can lead to harmful promotion practices. This can include nepotism and bias, creating a sense of entitlement and favoritism.
Examples of a Strong Culture
Want to build a great organizational culture? Look to the news, and you’ll find many great examples of a strong culture. Here are a few recent examples:
- Employees are encouraged to pursue ownership and growth opportunities at Publix Super Markets. This is an excellent example of a company culture that values employee development and advancement.
- Service-minded, fun-loving people are who Southwest Airlines hires. The company culture values customer service and a good time. Profits come because of the culture.
- Fairness, inclusion, and creativity are at the forefront of Adobe’s culture. The company has been awarded for its progressive policies, such as unlimited vacation days and generous parental leave.
What do all of these companies have in common? A strong culture.
A strong culture is the backbone of any great organization. It’s what keeps employees engaged and motivated to do their best work. And, when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent, a strong culture is a significant differentiator.
Examples of a Weak Culture
Here’s an excellent weak culture company example.
Suppose there are two organizations. We will call them Weak Culture Organization and Strong Culture Organization. Weak Culture Employee and Strong Culture Employee are labeled by their organization.
Weak Culture organizations lack transparency, have low morale, unfavorable policies and more.
Strong Culture organizations motivate employees, provide employee training, and provide excellent work-life balance, systematic policies, and more.
Let’s imagine both employees make good pay.
The strong culture employee is more satisfied with the work environment than weak culture employee. That’s because employee engagement is higher in Strong Culture Organization. Strong Culture Employee also wants to stay for a long time.
Weak Culture Employees, on the other hand, do not want to work more due to the weak culture.
What are the Characteristics of Your Company? Do You Have a Strong or Weak Culture?
The characteristics of a company’s culture can be either strong or weak. A strong culture is one where employees are highly motivated. They also have the skills and ability to do their jobs well.
A weak culture is one where employees are not motivated. They lack the skills and knowledge to do their jobs well.
So, which is your company? Is it a strong culture organization or a weak culture organization? Let’s find out!